What are the potential risks to people? Methylene chloride occurs mostly from breathing contaminated air, but may also occur through skin contact or by drinking contaminated water. Breathing in large amounts of methylene chloride can damage the central nervous system and result in death. Since 2000, more that 13 deaths have been caused by paint removers containing methylene chloride when used to refinish a bathtub. The following video describes this tragedy with using approximately 6 ounces of an aircraft paint stripper: Methylene Chloride and Bathtubs: A Dangerous Combination: 7:58 video:
How Can I Get Exposed?
NTTC advises against any do-it-yourself projects with consumer products that contain methylene chloride or NMP. Personal protective equipment may not be used properly by untrained individuals and could lead to serious harm and in some cases, death. The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommend that methylene chloride be regarded as a &potential occupational carcinogen& and that occupational exposures be controlled. Specific training is required for controlling occupational exposures to methylene chloride as described at:
Paint removal projects may include bathtub refinishing, automotive refinishing, furniture refinishing, art restoration and conservation, aircraft paint stripping, ship paint stripping, graffiti removal, and refinishing of wood structures and flooring.
Alternatives to Methylene Chloride and NMP
There are effective and economically feasible alternative products for all situations in which paint removers containing methylene chloride or NMP are used.
What can I do?
Learn more by researching the resources or watching the videos listed below.
Learn more and provide comments to EPA on the regulations being developed for TCE at Potential TCE and Paint Remover Regulatory Revisions
Educate your community on the dangers of household hazardous waste.
If you have the ability to conduct outreach on household hazardous waste, consider using some of the information here and the resources below to highlight the dangers of methylene chloride in paint removers. With the lack of regulation to keep methylene chloride and NMP out of our household products, it is imperative that we educate ourselves and our communities about the hazards that can be found under our sinks and in our garages
Warnings, existing worker protection regulations, and personal protective equipment has failed at protecting people from dying from exposure to methylene chloride. Though less widely used and presenting a different toxicological hazard, paint removers containing NMP also present the public with significant health risks. Effectively marketed as &biodegradable& and &low VOC,& individual and consumer users of these products are not likely to realize the potential hazards, nor the need for specialized personal protection when using these products
Check your household products for hazardous chemicals.
Consumer products labeled with the following ingredients contain methylene chloride: Dichloromethane (DCM); Freon 30; Methane dichloride; Methane, dichloro-; Methylene bichloride; Methylene dichloride
Properly dispose of household hazardous waste.
The principle releases of methylene chloride to land are from the disposal of methylene chloride products and containers in landfills. Methylene chloride waste must be handled as a hazardous waste. It is necessary to locate a household hazardous waste facility or identify the next household hazardous waste collection date and location to properly dispose of any household hazardous waste including consumer products containing methylene chloride.